I mentioned in a previous post that I am a proud member of LibraryThing, an online forum where booklovers can catalog their libraries and discuss books and why they love them. LT offers an Early Reviewers program, where selected members receive free copies of recently published and pre-pub books. A requirement of receiving these books is that one must write a review and post it on LibraryThing. Members who have blogs are asked to post reviews there, as well.
I received a copy of On the Road to Heaven by Coke Newell late last week, and this is my review of it. I must say to my loyal friends and blog readers that I do not recommend this book. Well, read the review and you will see that.
On the Road to Heaven by Coke Newell
As a life-long atheist who finds Mormonism to be one of the more ludicrous of the Christian sects, I don’t feel qualified to comment on the religious merits of this book. However, as an avid reader who deeply appreciates a well-written book, I can tell you unequivocally that this isn’t one. The author offers the book as an homage to Jack Kerouac, with frequent quotations from his work throughout. I must state that I find any comparison to Kerouac an insult to that fine author.
The novel, a thinly veiled autobiography, appears to end before the protagonist’s 20th birthday. Unless that protagonist’s name is Holden Caulfield, I am not interested in his teenaged, self-absorbed, philosophical musings. Perhaps this book would best be marketed to the Young Adult crowd, who may find these ramblings unique or meaningful; although I would be concerned that they might be impressionable enough to buy into some of the author’s conclusions.
The author, a former PR man for the LDS, uses the house publishing company, Zarahemla Books, in an attempt to package his adolescent life story as "a love story about a girl and a guy and their search for heaven – a lotta love, a little heaven, and one heck of a ride in between." In reality it is just a public relations guy trying a different tact to sell his product, the Mormon religion.